Stand Up Paddle Boarding, SUP, is the rage around the world. It is said that Duke Kahanamoku was the first surfer seen on the waves with a paddle. In that spirit the SUP games began today at the Duke's OceanFest with the Honolua Ultimate SUP showdown presented by Boyd Events.
The Honolua Ultimate SUP Showdown was a series of races and surfing to make it into the "Showdown" race at the final. There were 16 men and top two Women in the final race. In the Race Final it was Connor Baxter, Riggs Napoleon & Kaeo Abbey, third. In the Surf Finals Mo Freitas, Aaron Napoleon and Bonga Perkins was 3rd.
It was the Ultimate Showdown that had the beach cheering loudly. There was a bit of a rough and tumble start as racers crashed into each other. Aaron Napoleon got bumped and and Noa Ginella took the outside but ended up in the water and catching up. The action was fast around the course and It was Connor Baxter just ahead of Travis Grant, Aust. at the end for the win. It was a close race down to the wire as both riders caught a tiny runner wave into the beach.
" We were neck and neck", said Connor Baxter. "I caught a tiny wave and I though I had him then he went over the top and he was right beside me. It was close I just put my head down and paddled!" Baxtor raced up the beach and jumped over the tape for a super exciting finish.
Travis Grant from Australia really pushed the race, he had a good start but was just short ending up in second. "The biggest thing is to not make any mistakes", said Grant. " I tried to lead the way but Conner is just a bull... He's ten years younger and he just skips a way every time."
Results were Connor Baxter, Maui, Hawaii , Travis Grant, Aust., Zane Schweitzer, Hi, Matt Becker,Ca., Mo Freitas, & Jamie Mitchell, Aust.
In an exciting global relay with Lifeguard teams from New Zealand, Japan, California and Hawaii, the water men and women sprinted in a combo of running, swimming, paddling and stand-up. They briefly took over the shoreline of Waikiki with the crowd tightly gathered to watch the athletes. The relay commenced with a run at the start then around the outside buoys in prone paddeling and ending in a sprint to the finish on stand up boards and paddles. The Hawaii team won the initial relay. The team included Matt Sack, Kai Hall, Jamie Gove, Andrew Lagreco, Kurt Loer, Kainoa McGee, Tau Hanneman, Mitch De Guese and Captain Kirk Zigler. California was a close 2nd, following with Japan and New Zealand. The Sand sprint was won by California which gave them the points to win the overall competition. Their team was standup paddler-Mike Murphy, Runner-Tim Buriak, swimmer-Larry Felix and Board Paddler-Shane Gallas. Team New Zealand was Mark Haimona (capt.), Daniel Kereopa, Nick Marr and Dylan Lacey. On the Japanese Team was Akira On, Eriko Kinoshito, Yuno Kuouu, Satoshi Narai, Kosuke Tsuyuki, Momoya Tonoe. Great efforts by all whom participated!
AccesSurf was in the water today, which is an organization that gives our physically challenged surfing athletes a time to shine. Aided by advanced water and sand equipment, they get out and participate in water-sports which they love. First was Julian Rilveria, 2nd Damon Boiser, 3rd Jesse Delmar and 4th Kimo Akaka all surfing in the "prone" division. More information and results at AccesSurf.org.
The All-Star Celebrity Expression Session was classic with some outer island special guests and island wide familiar faces! Some participants were Chuck Kelly, Outrigger Hotel and Resorts (1st), Keahi Tucker (2nd) from KGMB-Hawaii News Now, Laura Blears (3rd), The first female pro surfer to surf against the males in a pro contest, (4th) Billy Kanoi-Big Island Mayor, (5th) Jack McCoy-Surf Movie Film Maker and (6th) Peter Carlisle and in 7th Taizo Braden from KHON TV 2.